Even though cats are more popular than ever before (it’s true!), many people still think of the cat as a cold, aloof, and even conniving creature. Self-professed “dog people” compare cats to dogs, and find cats to come up short. As well, they may have only seen cats who had spent their lives outdoors, and were wary of people.
Ironically, some of the attributes of cats that cat lovers appreciate, are the very thing that might get on their nerves about a dog. Cats, just like you an me, are independent and value some alone time. An exuberant bouncing dog that has to be expressly trained to not pester you ever minute of the day, compared to a cat, is hard work.
However, that the cat is standoffish and doesn’t show affection is simply false. A well-socialized cat that has been introduced to humans at an early age can be not only affectionate, but may shower you with affection. Even then, he’ll value his independent time.
Cats appreciate their humans in many ways, but cat detractors claim that they are only in it for the food. These people have never seen a cat bring their human a tasty dead mouse. Cats are willing to provide, and will puff up with pride when their person sees their offering at the door step, or even, gasp, on the bed.
Cats nap on warm laps, knead on their humans, and even lick their humans, despite what must be quite a disconcerting experience, what, with our fur problem.
It’s All An Act
The most frequent claim that cat detractors make concerning those who insist their cats love them is that they are “anthropomorphizing” their cat. “You are assigning human characteristics and feelings to an animal.” Apparently, to do the same with a dog is acceptable.
Well, it is true that we do anthropomorphize our pets in many ways. However, the same folks who claim that to say a cat shows affection means we are anthropomorphizing it will tell you that the cat is only pretending to show affection, in exchange for food, or to get what they want. Doesn’t this sound like many humans? It does not escape my notice that cat detractors are quick to assign the worst features of human beings to cats.
To say that a creature, whose thoughts and motivations we cannot possibly understand, is pretending to love us in order to get what they want is assigning human thoughts and emotions to them! It is anthropomorphizing the cat. You can’t have it both ways!
We do not know precisely what cats are thinking. We can just barely begin to understand their motivations. We can only observe, and use the evidence that is in front of us. There is sort of a scientific rule of thumb, when it comes to a scarcity of evidence. It is called Occam’s Razor. It applies to cats or any animal we seek to understand. It is also called the “law of parsimony.”
When a cat displays what appears to be great affection and love, and we imagine the most complicated reasons for these displays, and come up with theories with more layers that each must be falsified means that people who say cants fake it for their own benefit are actually stretching much more for an explanation than those who simply accept that what looks like love and affection probably is love and affection. Colloquially, we say that the simplest answer is usually the correct one!
Cats Love Their House, Not Their People
I just read an author repeating this in a cat behavior book. Since cats are territorial animals, they get attached to places much more than people. They are more attuned to their environment rather than the other beings in their environment.
According to this “theory,” if you move your cat would be happy to be abandoned. Believe it or not, this belief is so widespread that many people leave their cats behind at their old house when they move away. They figure the cat will just be miserable in a new place and maybe, just maybe, the new owners will take them in.
Yes, cats are territorial. We’ve all seen our cats rubbing all over many objects in the house and marking them as ‘their property.” They rub on us and mark us, as well.
Here, again, when we simply say, cats are thus and prefer thus, we are assigning human thoughts and characteristics to the cat. We can observe territorial behavior in a cat. But when we put a thought balloon over a cats head, we have glided past observation into fanciful invention. We do not know how a cats territorial instincts interacts with all its other instincts, thoughts, and feelings. To imagine that this one word “territorial” erases everything else we observe in our cats, is plain silly.
What we can observe is that moving to a new place, with none of the familiar smells and objects, except for ourselves, is confusing to a cat. Cats do not adapt to new environments in the same way we do. Some cats run away from new houses and end up at their old house, after travelling many many miles. Are they looking for their old territory, or, are they looking for you, confused by the smells in the new home which they do not associate with you? You see, we do not know.
Yet, when cats are introduced to new homes carefully, they adapt quite well an return to their familiar, affectionate patterns. There are many resources on the web to help you with the proper steps in introducing your cat to his new home.
Do Cats Actually Love You?
How do you know when a another human being actually loves you? Think about this before you answer it! How do you really know? Now, apply this question to your cat. Have you now noticed that some of the very same things that convince us that another person loves us are easily dismissed in out cat? The showing of affection. Spending time with us. Simply wanting to be with us is a fairly important indicator to us that another person cares deeply for us.
We do not know how cats feel. We only know what we observe. We assume that other human beings have the same type of feelings we do, and we are right. However, we can never truly know what another person is feeling at any one time. We only know what we can observe. Give your cat that same consideration! I think you’ll come to the conclusion that your cat really does love you, even if it is not the same type of love that a human being feels. Cats deal with their environment differently than we do, and this probably affects their feelings towards us. But just as it is unfair to tell another person how to love, it is unfair to expect a cat to feel exactly the way we expect. Just accept that cats do have feelings and that their actions, despite naysayers illogical imaginings, do not lie.